The Mouth Body Connection has seen a huge shift in understanding the link between mouth health and body health. Dr Karen Wolfe answers two questions –
How can the health of our mouth affect our body ?
Why are the simple habits of daily brushing and flossing more important than we might think?
Your Mouth, the Gateway to Your Body
To understand how the mouth can affect the body, it helps to understand what can go wrong in the first place. Bacteria that builds up on teeth make gums prone to infection. The immune system moves in to attack the infection and the gums become inflamed. The inflammation continues unless the infection is brought under control.
Over time, inflammation and the chemicals it releases eat away at the gums and bone structure that hold teeth in place. The result is severe gum disease, known as periodontitis. Inflammation can also cause problems in the rest of the body.
Oral Health and Heart Disease
Though the reasons are not fully understood, it’s clear that gum disease and heart disease often go hand in hand. The two conditions have several risk factors in common, such as smoking, unhealthy diet, and excess weight. And some suspect that periodontitis has a direct role in raising the risk for heart disease as well.
My Air/Water Pick
In the podcast, I discuss my new AirFlosser. I use this after I brush and floss. A WaterPick uses a focused stream of water to loosen plaque and food particles. An AirFlosser utilizes a stream of air, interspersed with microdroplets of water. Both allow us to add mouthwash to enhance the cleaning process and provide a fresh, clean sensation.
The Bottom Line on Oral Health
One thing is clear: the body and mouth are not separate. This means brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and going for regular dental cleanings and check-ups.